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Edit it Out

Five CRISPR researchers have launched a company, called Editas Medicine, that aims to develop that technology to edit genes that cause disease. The firm raised some $43 million in financing.

Feng Zhang, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the new company's founders, tells Nature News that the company will likely start with diseases that arise due to one copy of a dysfunctional gene — putting that bad copy out of action would then allow the working copy of the gene to take over.

A main competitor, Nature News notes, is Sangamo, though that company uses zinc finger nucleases rather than CRISPR.

Both companies may eventually seek US Food and Drug Administration approval for their product, it adds. Nicholas Bishop, a biotechnology analyst at Cowen and Company, points out to Nature News that FDA has yet to approve a gene therapy product. He notes, though, that "the regulatory climate is thawing considerably."

The other founders of Editas Medicine are Harvard University's George Church, the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna, Keith Joung at Harvard, and David Liu, also at Harvard.